July 2022: Latest Updates from the Mayor's Office of Housing
JACKSON SQUARE CELEBRATION
Image: 25 Amory courtesy of Peabody Properties
Three new projects in Jackson Square will add 219 affordable units to the city’s housing market, bringing the number of new income-restricted homes created in the neighborhood over the past 12 years to 487.
On June 1, the City of Boston, and Jackson Square Partners, a collaboration led by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), Urban Edge, and The Community Builders celebrated the completion of JPNDC’s 25 Amory Street Apartments, a 44 unit transit-oriented development. They also toured the construction site for The Community Builders’ 250 Centre Street development that will create 76 new affordable homes and celebrated the anticipated summer construction start of Urban Edge’s 1599 Columbus Street development that will create 65 new affordable apartments.
Several of the developments are on parcels that have been empty for as many as five decades on land originally cleared in anticipation of an I-95 extension that was never built.
RESIDENCES OFF BAKER GROUNDBREAKING
On June 10, staff from the City of Boston and B’nai B’rith Housing, local elected officials, and West Roxbury residents celebrated the groundbreaking for The Residences Off Baker, a 60-unit mixed-income, family and workforce, transit-oriented development.
Forty-five units will be available to households earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with 15 units restricted to households earning less than 30 percent of AMI, including units dedicated to households transitioning out of homelessness.
The Boston-based nonprofit B’nai B’rith Housing, which creates and manages below-market housing for seniors and others, acquired the land for The Residences Off Baker at 1208 VFW Parkway for this development, which will be the first affordable residences constructed in West Roxbury since 2013.
PRYDE (BARTON ROGERS) GROUNDBREAKING
On June 17, Mayor Michelle Wu joined state and City officials, Pennrose, LGBTQ Senior Housing Inc., and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to break ground on The Pryde, Boston’s first designated LGBTQ-friendly housing development for older Bostonians.
The redevelopment of the former Barton Rogers School in Hyde Park will preserve the original 1899 building and its two additions from 1920 and 1934 while creating 74 new mixed-income rental units that will be welcoming to seniors 62 years and older. All units will be deed-restricted in perpetuity and will provide affordable, safe housing for seniors across a wide variety of incomes.
The redevelopment is being led by Pennrose and LGBTQ Senior Housing, Inc. who worked extensively with the local community in Hyde Park to meet the needs of residents. The Pryde is located near shops and restaurants and a variety of cultural and outdoor amenities, including the Menino Arts Center and the public library. It is also close to two MBTA commuter rail stops serving the Fairmont and Providence lines.
NEWCASTLE SARANAC RIBBON CUTTING
Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon joined the Fenway Community Development Corporation (CDC), their development partner Schochet Companies, and South End/Lower Roxbury residents to celebrate the ribbon cutting on the renovations that preserved 97 units of affordable housing at the Newcastle Saranac Apartments, located on Columbus Avenue and Northampton Street in the South End/Lower Roxbury.
In 2019, with 13A affordability restrictions on the property expiring, the Mayor’s Office of Housing worked with the Fenway CDC and Schochet Companies to acquire the building and fund the renovation of its 97 units.
Support from the City of Boston’s Acquisition Opportunity Program (AOP) allowed the Fenway CDC to purchase the building, protecting existing tenants from displacement and preserving the long-term affordability of this mixed-income property. The City of Boston’s Acquisition Opportunity Program offers affordable housing developers the ability to pre-qualify for a set amount of funding, allowing them to be more competitive in Boston’s fast-moving real estate market. Since its inception, the AOP has successfully acquired or preserved 634 at-risk units of housing, preserving tenancies, and creating new long-term income-restricted housing. The purchase and renovation of the property was made possible through the use of AOP funds and Inclusionary Development Policy funding from the 60 Kilmarnock Street and 212 Stuart Street projects.
Of the 97 units, 82 are affordable to households earning at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), with eight of those units being supported by project-based Section 8 rental subsidy and 30 supported by Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program vouchers. 69 units are affordable to households earning at or below 60 percent of AMI.
The renovations on the Newcastle Saranac Apartments included extensive masonry repairs, roof and window replacement, kitchen and bathroom upgrades, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system overhauls.
HOMELESS CENSUS ANNOUNCEMENT
The City of Boston has issued its final report on the point in time count held earlier this year, when Mayor Wu led a group of volunteers, including City and federal officials, homeless service providers, and public health and safety first responders in conducting the City of Boston's 42nd annual homeless census.
During the annual census, the City of Boston collects data on individuals spending the night unsheltered on the street, and individuals and families staying in emergency shelter, transitional housing, or domestic violence shelter programs. This point-in-time count is a national requirement for cities who are receiving funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Overall, the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in Boston on the night of the census decreased by 2.4 percent, from 1,659 individuals in 2021 to 1,545 individuals in 2022. This reduction builds on a decrease of 24.7 percent from 2020 to 2021 which was due in part to a coordinated effort by city agencies and homeless service providers to create alternative housing, shelter, and healthcare options that de-concentrated shelters during the first wave of the pandemic. It also reflects sustained and successful efforts in housing individuals experiencing homelessness and at-risk individuals and diverting individuals from emergency shelter to safe alternatives when possible.
The number of unsheltered persons staying on the street on the night of the census decreased by 30 percent, or 51 individuals, from 170 individuals in 2021 to 119 individuals in 2022. There were no unsheltered families on the streets of Boston on the night of the census, as has been true for more than the past decade.
After two years of increased unsheltered homelessness, this year’s street count is slightly lower than the total of 121 in 2019. The number of veterans experiencing homelessness decreased by 15.5 percent, from 213 veterans in 2021 to 180 veterans in 2022.
BOSTON HOME CENTER HOSTS WORKSHOPS
The Boston Home Center (BHC) held two well received virtual workshops in June.
On June 7th, they hosted an event for those interested in buying a home in Boston. Almost 200 people attended the workshop to learn about programs, services, and mortgage financing that the BHC offers to first-time homebuyers. The workshop featured information on mortgage offerings, including ONE+ Boston, as well as credit repair programs.
And on June 14th, nearly 100 Bostonians who already own a home in Boston attended a workshop to hear about the programs, services, and financial assistance that the BHC offers to help homeowners repair and maintain their properties. Attendees were particularly interested to hear about the programs to replace ailing heating systems for seniors, and to learn what other assistance could be utilized to make the heating and cooling costs of their home more manageable. This evening workshop was very lively, featuring intense discussion and question and answer periods.
With the success of these events, the Boston Home Center has committed to holding them quarterly throughout the year.